Written by Hannah Yterdal
When I first walked into the Cove last Wednesday night, September 26, to hear Grey Holiday for the first time, I was a little deterred by the meager turnout. No more than fifteen students were in the Cove when I arrived, and in the next few minutes, as the band set up their instruments, a handful of those present filtered out with to-go cartons in hand.
“Yikes,” I thought, “Are they really that bad that no one can pop in to listen for a while?” I watched in slight trepidation as the four-man band brought out their various instruments (keyboard, guitars, bass and drums) and did their sound checks.
I needn’t have worried.
I will readily admit that I’m no music expert, but as the band started up their set with “Death by Moonlight”, I started to wish I were. There’s something very captivating about the music. I couldn’t figure out if it was lead singer Matt Minor’s voice, similar to many alternative singers but somehow different, too. It might have been the piano sounds of the keyboard, also played by Minor. Or it might have just been the obvious camaraderie and friendship between the musicians.
Minor, Steven Bedingfield (guitar), R.T. Bodet (bass) and Josh Fenoglio (drums) are friends first and band mates second.
“We have always been willing to sacrifice for our music, but our friendship has, and always will, come first,” says Minor. “When Steven and I knew we wanted to play full-on rock ’n’ roll music and would need a band, we didn’t want to have to go through the process of weeding out musicians that we didn’t have a relationship with, so we asked our friends, R.T. and Josh, if they wanted to join us.”
Bodet and Fenoglio actually had no idea how to play their instruments when Minor and Bedingfield first asked them to join in their musical endeavor. To an untrained ear like mine, though, you really wouldn’t know the difference. The band’s Christian rock classification might deter some listeners, but Grey Holiday strikes a good balance between religion and rock. As someone who is not very religious, I found myself strangely lulled by the lyrics of love and faith and by the band’s overall sound.
The band’s second number, “Where You Want Me,” is a song off of their newly released album “Great Revolution”. Although played at the “leisurely” pace that would persist through most of the performance (“It’s a coffee house,” Fenoglio insisted), the lively beat carried easily into the next few songs. “Let Go”, another song off of their new album, has a quirky melody and a sing-songy chorus that made me want to sing along with Minor.
“Revolution” speaks of the uniformity we find ourselves living in, while “You Belong To Me” is a ballad about, as Minor puts it, “coming back to the Father after straying.”
“You Belong To Me” is a prime example of how the religious themes can also be interpreted as personal themes. As I listened to the lyrics of the song, I did not think about renewing faith in a religious sense, but in always being able to find love in the arms of friends and family.
The last song of the set, “We Need You Tonight”, Minor performed solo on the keyboard. While the other three members sprawled around a music case containing CDs and other promotional items, Minor set out to prove that sometimes, less is more. His passion for the music was obvious, and I found myself oddly comforted by the melody and his voice.
Grey Holiday has been compared to other Christian rock bands, but, not being an avid listener of that type of music, I cannot comment on the band’s similarities to other bands of the genre. Fans of Christian rock would certainly enjoy the band’s sound, and other listeners, if they can get past the Christian aspect, would find a treat in Grey Holiday, too.